The US Patent & Trademark Office recently published a patent application from Google that reveals their interest in bringing sound to eBooks to improve the reader's experience. Google's filing states that the sound information may associate a sound effect such as thunder, background chatter, or footsteps with a trigger point and much more.
In fact, Google states that the sound type may indicate to play background music, and/or a particular genre of music (e.g., pop, jazz, classical) at a trigger point, without indicating the exact music to play.
Google points out that an eBook is analyzed to determine trigger point information for the eBook. The trigger point information includes information identifying a location of a trigger point in the eBook.
The trigger point information also includes sound information indicating a sound to play at the trigger point. The determined trigger point information is transmitted to the client in response to the request for trigger point information.
The client is configured to track a user's reading location in the eBook and play the sound indicated by the sound information responsive to the user reading the eBook at the location of the trigger point.
The playback module associated with the invention may retrieve the sound prior to when the sound is to be played, such as when the user begins reading the eBook, the chapter or page containing the trigger point, or at another time.
Although Google's patent doesn't mention it, the invention could very likely utilize eye-tracking technology in the future to better time the sound effect to where the reader is on the page. Perhaps the engineers at Google need a little more imagination.
Google filed their patent application under serial number 397658 back in Q1 2012. Considering that this is a patent application, the timing of such a product or feature to market is unknown at this time. For sure it's an idea that's long overdue
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